Don’t roll your eyes! Terms get tossed at us by budtenders too; and our stoned brains check out on having to listen to someone teach us anything while we wonder how long cheesy bread will take at Dominoes… We’re gonna help you learn this stuff as painlessly as possible.
Defining the basics:
Cannabinoids are compounds in the marijuana plant that give it medicinal and recreational properties. The two big ones are THC and CBD, but there are a others (as many as 113 believed to exist so far) that are stored in the trichomes (the little hairs that make buds look fuzzy and colorful).
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids naturally produced by your body (“Endo” means Endogenous, or originating in the body), the endocannabinoid system is made of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors, but they are not the same as cannabinoids from marijuana. They have similar properties but they travel the pathways through the central nervous system – body and brain. The two big endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-AG, but Noladin, Ether, N-Arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA) and Virodhamine are important too (these control balance within the body, like mood).
When you consume marijuana, cannabinoids in your body interact with cannabinoid receptors differently than normal, changing the function of the cannabinoid receptors (CBD-R). Our ancestors’ use of hemp in their diet has been believed to help evolve our endocannabinoid system into what it is today.
Cannabinoid Receptors: (CBD-R) come in two types: CB-1 in the brain, and CB-2 in the body. THC binds with CB-1 and CBD binds with CB-2.
Phytocannabinoids: are endocannabinoids in plants. They may also be referred to as Exogenous cannabinoids. THC and CBD are phytocannabinoids.
THC: or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the cannabinoid that binds with CB-1, which is what makes you feel ‘high’. Marijuana can have THC levels as high as 30-40%, but that number is not as big of a deal as you might think.
CBD: Cannabidoil, we’ll have some more data on CBD, but for now, know that CBD is something that researchers around the world have been looking at pretty intensely for years, and since the opioid crisis and coronavirus concerns, CBD has become a favorite research topic at many research hospitals. It has been found to treat, help and heal multiple issues from pain to depression. It treats body pain by altering how your cannabinoid receptors receive information.
CBC: or Cannabichromene is second most prevalent cannabinoid after THC, but it doesn’t bind with CB-1 receptors in your brain. We expect that science will be doing studies on this when the value of marijuana is realized by the federal government someday. What we know already is that CBC works well with THC and CBD to fight mental health issues like ADD, PTSD and depression as well as Alzheimer’s and a few skin problems like acne. Why it isn’t all the rage is a good question, but we expect big things in years to come.
CBG: Cannabigerol, we covered last month, keeps popping up in the news and it may push CBD to the side eventually. CBG is a foundation for the other cannabinoids in marijuana. New research shows that CBG can do more than treat diabetes and depression, it shows promise to treat glaucoma and intraocular pressure (CBD and THC can’t do anything for this) without getting you high. CBG works in specific areas of the body and scientists are looking to see what they can do with this data. It is great with a number of diseases like Huntington’s, which affects nerve cells. Recent studies showed that CBG blocks the receptors responsible for cancer cell growth.
CBG can also do incredible things for MRSA, controlling this dangerous infection where antibiotics have failed. It can do it without the side effects strong antibiotics cause to the body. CBN: Cannabinol is not produced by the marijuana plant but it is a byproduct of exposing THC to too much light or heat. It is a chemical reaction, not a natural process from growth.
2-AG: (2-Arachidonoylglycerol) is an endocannabinoid in your body that trips the CB-1 switches in your brain when you use THC. It is one of the most abundant endocannabinoids in your body regulating pain, appetite and immunity. You can boost your 2-AG levels with a balanced diet (with eggs, poultry, grains and hemp seeds), probiotics (artichokes, leeks, garlic and onions) and proper sleep.
Anandamide: is another endocannabinoid that makes us feel ‘high’, like the adrenalin from a workout and it controls our moods. It’s the body’s version of THC. It controls pleasure and motivation. Low levels of this endocannabinoid contribute to anxiety and depression. To enhance your anandamine levels further, try exercise, eating chocolate or truffles or focusing on a task you enjoy.
Of course, this is a simplistic primer of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids but it will get you to your Dominoes cheesy bread a little faster.